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It Used To Be True

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I dare you to prove me wrong.

Oh, wait. That’s not the way to begin a discussion, is it? Let me take a fresh run at it.

We had Mother’s Day dinner at my son’s house, the Lovely Lady and I. It was fabulous. Food, prepared by the men in the family (with assistance from the young ladies who aren’t moms). Conversation, provided by everyone involved — really — everyone. And love, spread thick by our Creator from whom all such good gifts are given.

Before heading into the house, I noticed the new trees. Beautiful and straight, they were. Willow-oak trees, destined to provide shade from the blast of the sun’s rays. Sturdy saplings, surrounded at the base by. . . rocks?

I mentioned them as we sat around the table. The rocks, I mean. My son, always the pragmatist, shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s Arkansas. What did you expect?”

I thought about that for a moment. I was still trying to wrap my thoughts around a related event from just the day before.

In our own yard, a mile or so from my son’s, the maple tree we planted last spring is doomed because of a run-in with a rutting buck, so we purchased a nice Red Oak sapling as a replacement.

I was worried as I prepared to plant the new tree in my yard. I do live in Arkansas, you know.

Rocks grow faster than grass in some yards here.

And yet, optimistically, I told the Lovely Lady she could stay inside. I even suggested I mightn’t need the rock-breaker, that heavy solid-iron bar common to every area contractor’s and fence-builder’s arsenal. Armed only with a shovel, I headed out to mark the location for the new tree.

Imagine my amazement as the circumference was dug up without hearing the characteristic clang of rock on metal. I dug a circle over two feet in diameter and at least as deep without hitting a single rock. Not one.

Sometimes, what we think we know to be true isn’t true at all.

But, I wonder. What if what we think we know to be true was once, but simply is no longer?

Not ten feet away from the hole I dug lie three or four large stones dislodged from the ground last week as I mowed. I know there are rocks under the ground. I do live in Arkansas, you know.

I’m thinking the prayer I muttered as I walked out to dig that hole had an effect. Possibly, my resolve to face the job with joy and expectation made a difference.

It’s possible.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the ground had rocks under it before I started, but not when I stuck my shovel into it.

I dare you to prove me wrong.

You can’t, can you?

Here is what I know

There are rocks in Arkansas soil. I know that. I also know I dug this particular hole in Arkansas soil and hit not a single rock.

Okay, it’s a little silly, I know. I don’t really want to argue about it.

The thoughts that have been roiling in my brain for a while, though — those we might argue about. They’re about a far deeper subject than just a hole in the ground.

I’m beginning to wonder about the impossible people in my life

You know the ones. They won’t ever change. Nothing can get through to them. It’s a complete waste of my time and emotions to even try.

We all know them. Some of us are them. Impossible people will always be impossible.

And yet…

And yet, we’re reminded that while we focus on the outward appearance, God sees into the heart of the person. (1 Samuel 16:7)

But, He doesn’t see our potential; He sees what His love and power can do to make that heart new. Everything old — everything — will go away completely.

New. He makes us new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I said impossible, didn’t I?

That must have been wrong.

But, it isn’t. Our Creator is the one who calls things that never were as if they are. (Romans 4:17)

I really don’t know if He changes the rocky Arkansas ground to rich, black dirt, but I do know He changes the black, dead hearts of men to living, loving vessels of His grace.

I know that.

And I still dare you to prove me wrong.

But I’d rather you prove me right.


“Will power does not change men. Time does not change men. Christ does”
(Henry Drummond ~ Scottish evangelist/biologist ~ 1851–1897).


© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2019. All Rights Reserved.



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Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips

Christ-follower, writer, Horn player, curmudgeon-in-training. Recovering hypocrite. http://www.spaulphil.com/